On Friday afternoon, we departed for year #2 of our (hopefully!) annual Mother's/Father's Day weekend celebration at the Vicker's home along the Metolius River. It is the IDEAL family retreat location - so peaceful, and yet plenty to keep the kids exploring and occupied.
Not long after we unpacked I found my place on the outdoor swing...
And didn't stay solo for long...
Ahhh....look at my kids - they look like they actually enjoy each other's company!
Not long after arriving, my dad pulled Mikayla and Brayden off to the banks to give them a tutorial on fly fishing. It's a fly-fishing only river so you better work on your cast. Brayden ended up catching something...the tree.... =)
About an hour after our arrival, the Schillings pulled up. Mom and Dad had arrived Thursday morning so they were already lounging and relaxed. It took no time for the kids to beg for a fire to be built.
That look between Brayden and Nati - yeah, that's trouble. Those two - they are like twins....and often up to something just bordering on no good.... ;)
My dad took this picture of John and posted it on Facebook - catching him in the act of eating s'mores as he still has marshmallow on his face. =)
There's few things cozier....
And this picture....ahhhh! John worked with Mikayla to take it on a long exposure. I love it!!!!!
Of course Mom and Mikayla would be one of the first ones up on Saturday. (In contrast to Traig who slept in until nearly noon!) Mikayla was more than happy to oblige when Grandma asked her to "do something with her hair" =)
The end result - cute!
Once the kids decided to walk to the store, Mom, Michele, and I opted to go for a hike along the river.
Mom was demonstrating something here - not even sure what but it made for a fun pic!
The pics don't even begin to do it justice as to how clear and pristine this beauty is - not to mention the smells of pine.
And, colorful too - lots of wildflowers in bloom amidst the forest terrain.
Michael didn't mean to look grumpy in this pic - he really was having a good time!
During the afternoon, we had planned to do a different hike or go in to Sisters - but, the kids took their time returning and then Mom got a serious phone call from home. Her oldest horse, Holly, had a sudden seizure. Her friend, Theo, who was staying at the house and caring for the horses and Mackie handled everything in the best possible way. Mom was horrified that that had happened, but waited until a vet was able to see Holly and assess her status before making any decisions to return home immediately. As it turned out, it was determined that Holly probably ate something poisonous in the field and it was likely a one-time fluke happening. Other friends were there to offer their insight on Holly's well-being, and at the end of it all, Mom felt like there was nothing more that would be gained upon her returning early as Holly had seemingly fully rebounded. It was a brave decision on Mom's part - as well as a good one, as sure enough, there were no other concerns during our get-away.
So, we chose to take it easy in the afternoon. We watched the Belmont Stakes to see if California Chrome could take home the Triple Crown. Nope....
This happened while trying to get a pic of Brayden and I - (he wouldn't stop making silly faces....so I tickled him in attempts to get something close to a real smile)
And Traig cuddled with Grandma
Dinner was FANTASTIC. We had been given some insight by a butcher at Costco as to what steaks to pick out among their "Prime" offerings - and oh my gosh - it was SO GOOD!!!! It kind of set the standard high for what we'll need to provide for the future. =) Mixed with corn on the cob, fresh fruit salad, and garlic bread - pretty much spot on for a perfect meal.
After dinner, Dad whittled some sticks for the kids to roast marshmallows so that they wouldn't slide off like they were doing on the metal poles we were using. What a grandpa!
Later, I spent my own time enjoying the morning tranquility.
After breakfast, John took Nati, Ellie, and Brayden to the store and along the river to get some photography shots and show them some fun techniques.
Meanwhile, Mom, Dad, Michael, Michele, Mikayla, and Myself (wow, that's a lot of M's!) - took a hike on the West Metolius Trail where you could see the water just emerge from the banks.
Some pre-hike posing...
Before we knew it, we were introducing Mom and Dad to this awesome sight that Michele and I had been at a couple of times prior.
Once we returned, we quickly set up the camera for a family group shot before the Schillings and our family had to leave. Mom and Dad got to stay until Tuesday, but the rest of us had to get back for our boys to prepare for finals.
Definitely one of our best family group shots - hoping to repeat this set-up and tradition each year...
On the way home our family opted to make a quick run into Sisters. The day before a fire had begun Northwest of Bend. The sky over the Metolius area wasn't affected, but just a half hour closer and the sky was completely hazy. It's already spread to over 6000 acres and is threatening some neighborhood homes - so we are hoping it can be contained soon.
What a WONDERFUL weekend. Everyone was in good moods and spirits (outside of the obvious Holly scare) and it felt so good to get away. If only we didn't have school to return to, it would have felt like the perfect kick-off to summer. Just 3 days left for Brayden and 7 for Mikayla....I think we'll make it!!!